Food and Farming Minister celebrates English Tourism Week with Farm Stay UK

Food and Farming Minister George Eustice, representatives from DEFRA and the NFU were among the guests invited to celebrate English Tourism Week on April 4 with a farmhouse breakfast hosted by Farm Stay UK member Hannah Elford and supported by local businesses.

The breakfast, which took place at Degembris Farm near Newquay in Cornwall, was held in response to the news that the Government has established a £2 million support fund to help tourism businesses affected by the recent floods and is working with businesses to develop the rural economy.

George Eustice addressed the group, saying: “Tourism is a hugely important part of the rural economy, contributing around £33 billion, and its growing.

“I’m working with the industry to make sure more farms and rural businesses like Degembris Farm can benefit from this growing market in the future and enable visitors to sample the wonderful local food that different parts of the country have to offer. 

“That’s why we’ve approved £6m for partnership projects funded by the Rural Development Programme as part of the government’s £25m rural tourism package.”

Andy Woodward, chief executive of Farm Stay UK, added: “We very much welcome the news that the Government has established funds to encourage tourism and support businesses following a difficult winter. Farm Stay has worked exceptionally well with DEFRA over the past few years and recognised how the DEFRA training and support programmes have helped our members, including the RDPE and REG grant schemes.

“These have specifically helped to improve the experience for the customer, improved quality standards of farm accommodation and helped to train farmers and their families with everything from social media and IT skills to housekeeping and digital photography. We also recognise the work that DEFRA do with VisitEngland to support rural tourism, which is enjoying an all-time high in terms of consumer popularity driven by the likes of Countryfile, Lambing Live and programmes supporting local food, such as Great British Menu.”

Picture shows: L-R Dawn Cardell (RABI Cornwall Chairman), Patrick Aubrey-Fletcher (NFU South West), Hannah Elford (Degembris Farm), George Eustice (Food and Farming Minister) and Mary Pengelly (Regional Director, Farm Stay UK)